If you don’t like okra, or Lady’s Finger as some people like to call this vegetable, you might have to reconsider this. When you eat 100 grams of okra, you get only 33 calories. If this does not convince you, here is another interesting fact. Hundred grams of okra has 0 gram fat and only 7 gram carbs. Furthermore, okra contain A, C, K, and B6 Vitamins. Okra is also rich with dietary fiber, magnesium, and folate. Okra is antioxidants rich vegetable. The antioxidants in okra are very beneficial for heart and brain health. If you have diabetes, you can control your blood sugar level by including okra in your diet. It is also one of the best vegetables for pregnant women.
Aforementioned benefits are just a few examples. A quick Google search will give you a lot of information about the usefulness of okra. Therefore, if you are health conscious, you should be eating okra regularly. If you are considering to include okra in your regular meal, how about growing okra in your backyard or even containers.
Why should you be growing okra in your backyard?
- It will be cheaper to grow your own vegetable than buying from the market.
- You get to eat organic vegetable instead of commercially grown vegetables that use chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
- You will get to eat fresh produce instead of stale vegetables that are kept fresh by refrigerating or preservatives.
- Growing okra is very economical. You can start harvesting in less than 60 days and you can continue plucking okra for 60 more days.
- Last but not the least; it is really easy to grow okra. There are no complicated processes involved.
How to grow okra in your garden?
- Soak the seeds in water overnight.
- Okra grows well in the soil with pH level 6-7. Use micro nutrients to increase or decrease soil pH level.
- Till the soil to the depth of 30 cm feet. Add compost or organic fertilizer to the soil and mix it with garden rake in the depth of 10 cm.
- Make 2 cm holes in the soil and plant 4-5 soaked seeds in each hole. Distance between each hole should be 2-3 feet. Cover with 2 cm peat moss and water the seed. Keep your soil moist by watering frequently.
- In about a week, you will begin to see the seedlings. Water the seedling. While watering always water the roots and water on the leaves might damage the plants.
- Weeds easily grow on the beds of your plants. Weed out and add mulch to your okra bed.
- When plants are 15 cm tall, add compost and fertilizer.
- Okra are not easily affected by pest, however, it is a good idea to keep pest trappers in your garden.
- You will begin to see the okra fruits in about 60 days. Use hand pruner to cut okra pods. You should start harvesting when okra pods are 5-7 cm long.
Growing okra in a pot or container
- Choose a pot/container that is at least 30 cm deep.
- Choose dwarf variety of okra.
- Place your containers where it gets a lot of sunshine.
- It is better if your container is black because okra loves warmth and black color traps heat.
- Make holes in your container for drainage.
Growing okra indoors
You can also grow okra indoors. However, make sure, your plants get enough sunshine. If you cannot provide sunlight to your plants, you can use fluorescent lamps. The room temperature for your okra plants should be around 75 degree F.
Growing Okra: Points To Remember
- Okra prefers warm climate. Therefore, it is easy to grow okra in spring and summer. You can also grow okra in mild winter.
- Germination is the most important part of growing okra. After planting seeds water regularly and cover the soil with peat moss to keep the seeds warm. Don’t water too much as the seeds can decay.
- Okra needs a lot of sunshine. Therefore, plant the seeds where they get sunshine.
- Okra does not need a lot of watering. All you have to do is keep the soil moist. However, okra can survive the rainy season.
- With each harvest, okra plants grow taller. Therefore, if you are growing okra indoors or on containers, choose a variety that does not grow very tall.
- When you plant okra seeds, they are easily carried away or eaten by ants and other insects. Therefore, you should treat the soil with pesticides. If you want to grow okra organically, you can easily prepare your own organic pesticide.